Japanese chemical producers report some progress in restarting their facilities in Kashima, a major chemical complex northeast of Tokyo that was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. JSR says it restarted synthetic rubber production at the site after steam and other utilities came back on-line. But the company notes that it is working with inventoried raw materials and that the situation will not be normal until a major supplier also restarts in late May. Mitsui Chemicals is repairing its petrochemical facilities and hopes to restart in late June. Shin-Etsu Chemical is repairing its polyvinyl chloride plant but says it won’t be able to resume normal production until other suppliers at the site also come back on-line. The difficulty of restarting at Kashima was illustrated when Shin-Etsu had to stop production at its partially restarted optical fiber preform plant after a violent aftershock on April 11.